“It’s bizarre that the produce manager is more important to my children’s health than the pediatrician.” — Meryl Streep
“Eat your vegetables. They’re good for you.” — almost every mother who ever lived
Pediatricians are important in fighting children’s diseases, to be sure, but it might be even more bizarre that we somehow generalize their crucial responsibility to the far more complex business of nurturing health in our kids. Wellness is much bigger than being free from illness. To rear happy, hardy youngsters, it really does take a village, and the produce managers are among a large cast of players– but parents usually have the all-important roles of directors.
That said, kudos to Streep for promoting organic gardening long before it was as widespread as it is today. For children lucky enough to take part in growing at least a bit of what they eat, it’s a wonderful experience on many levels, as Grady can tell you. I imagine that particular squash and that cucumber tasted better to him than they would have if he didn’t watch them grow and then participate in the joy of picking them off the vines.
Of course, those healthy eating habits may not last (I’m told I used to love freshly-caught fish when I was a toddler and we lived in Hialeah, Florida) but surely kids are more likely to keep eating what they learn to enjoy at a very young age. And it’s never to late for us to acquire a taste for nutritious food. Or so I tell myself every time I munch on raw cauliflower.
Do you like vegetables? Which ones are your favorites? If you have any secrets for healthy seasonings, please share them for those of us who are still working on loving veggies. And even if you’re past the stage of spending time with the pediatrician, it might be wise to make friends with your local produce manager. It couldn’t hurt.